Rebecca Black has solidified her position as a Pop Icon, and continues to push the boundaries of pop music with her new single “Personal.” What sets her apart the most is her ability to consistently bend the rules of pop, while staying true to her experience in the process. For new fans it is refreshing and intriguing to hear Black explore her sound in upcoming projects, while leaving life-long fans desperate for more.
In “Personal” Black seamlessly suspends the feeling of a bittersweet ending. “‘Personal’ was the guilt and heaviness,” she shares, “that comes with being the one to put an end to a relationship when that is not what the other person wants.” The song pushes and pulls the listener back and forth between knowing what’s best, and then wavering on that solace to comfort the person you love. Rebecca agrees to carry the burden of the break-up, saying “even though it hurts I won’t take it personal.”
Sonically it is the perfect intersection between pop and hyper-pop. The distorted and high-pitched vocals, vocoder-doubles, and overall harsh audio editing compliments her naturally light tone; resulting in a complex and compelling sound. Black’s signature pop melodies are evident in this product, with a catchy chorus that can be burned into anyone’s mind. The production is choppy and oscillating, with bouncing 808’s and arpeggiated synths creating a product that is jarring and exciting, much like the feeling of being yanked back and forth in an extended breakup. Towards the end of the song there is a beautiful juxtaposition of silky smooth saxophone, a heavenly-like ambience, that is cut short to return the “bitter” part of bittersweet in this song.
In her video she opens in a lavish mansion, wearing a robe that is a staple for the trope of a rich housewife. The cinematography is stunning, switching from professional looking footage to camcorder footage, giving a vintage feel to the piece of content. Throughout the video there are motifs of trophies, pills, and insanity. The video juxtaposes the lyrics, “even though it hurts I won’t take it personal” while the character is slowly going off the deep end, while actively trying to dull the pain with pills. As the video progresses Black switches wardrobe into a suit, and purchases a blinged out chainsaw, and goes, well, bat-shit crazy. Rebecca dances with reckless abandon and embodies this character with ease, elevating the story-telling of the single.
Black seamlessly commands space in the pop world, and it is an honor to see her grow into the star we always knew she would be. Her ability to combine genres to give new dimension to pop music is exactly what everyone needs right now. It is evident that her new releases will outshine her past discography, and I am eager to see what she has in store.
Listen to her new song “Personal” here.
By: Ariha Vaquera